A class-relational approach
in Labour, state and society in rural India
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This chapter outlines what is meant by a class-relational approach to labour, state and society in India. Analysis of exploitation is central to this approach, and is located at and beyond the level of the production process, and understood in terms of both broader and more specific relations between capital and labour. Analysis of exploitation in this book focuses on social relations in and around production sites, and the mediation of class relations by state institutions and civil society organisations. The chapter discusses the similarities and differences between Marxian and Weberian approaches to class. More specifically, the class-relational approach is contrasted to various semi-relational approaches, which have assumed a prominent role in the literature on poverty and development to the detriment, it is argued, of classes of labour. The chapter defines the terms ‘dominant class’ and ‘classes of labour’ – the latter being understood as expressing the multi-faceted nature of social classes (imbued as they are by other axes of domination such as caste and gender), and both the fragmentation of labourers and their common position as members of exploited classes.

Labour, state and society in rural India

A class-relational approach

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